|>More Rutland Barrington
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IT appears to be the custom for all writers of such nondescript matter as "recollections" and "reminiscences" of a personal character to apologise to the public for inflicting on it a volume which it is quite within the bounds of possibility may have been anticipated with a certain amount of eagerness and received with the same ratio of pleasure.
If this apology is imperative in the case of a "first offence," what the mode of procedure in the event of a second production may be I have no opportunity of knowing, this being the first time I have projected a second volume; possibly it may take the form of a modest allusion to the necessity for the second volume being pointed out by the publisher as a natural sequence to the reception of the first.
Be this as it may, however, in offering my second venture to the attention of a discriminating public, I fail to see the need of any apology, and this for several reasons; firstly, that (with the exceptions of myself and the publisher's reader) no one is obliged to read the book; secondly, that the congratulatory, and therefore marvellously correct, treatment the first volume received at the hands of my friends the reviewers is a distinct invitation to afford them another opportunity of demonstrating their unswerving attitude of kindliness; and thirdly because, while I have met many friends and acquaintances who were good enough to express the pleasure afforded them by my first volume, I have met a far more numerous contingent of both who were quite unaware that I had "done a book" at all!
This last reason appears to me to contain, as they say a woman's postscript so often does, the gist of the whole matter, and therefore might well have been written first, but I will let the others stand, and content myself with pointing out as my "lastly" the very obvious conclusion that the issuing of a second volume will call a renewed attention to the first, a point which, in the properly balanced authorial mind, bears no commercial significance whatever, being simply the outcome of a desire that no one should miss what they might find enjoyable.
During an interval at one of the strenuous rehearsals of The Girl in the Train I was chatting with an old friend and well-known playwright, and the talk turned on the subject of my book, which he was kind enough to say he had read with great pleasure – but (it is nearly always present, that "but," I find) he hardly thought it wise for an actor to "reminisce" unless he were on the point of retiring or, better still, had done so, and when I confessed my intention of starting a second volume he firmly declared that I had no right to do that "unless I was dead"!
This is a line of reasoning that I find myself quite unable to follow, and having been guilty of the first offence, and not, as yet, feeling even moribund, it is my grim determination to commit the second. I have seen and done so much since writing the word "Finis" to my first book (now I come to think of it I do not believe it is there) that I am inspired to hope that some at least of my many experiences may be found of passing interest to those fortunate enough to read them.
With this hope looming large I then venture upon my second attempt to amuse without instructing, and if I should achieve but a modicum of success in the former motive it will more than counterbalance the distress I shall feel if my efforts were, quite unintentionally, to stray in the direction of the latter!
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